A Marine is a very special person. The WWII Marine was extraordinary. He grew up in the Great Depression where he learned resourcefulness and how to get along with little. He then endured extreme training which made him physically fit and mentally tough. He was thus ready to take on a fanatical and well-equipped enemy in the Pacific and defeat him on the islands he had claimed to be completely secure from invasion.

Until Guadalcanal, the enemy had run over our positions which were poorly equipped and no match for the Japanese Imperial forces. The Marines at Guadalcanal surprised them and turned the tide of the war. They fought hand to hand and stood their ground against the attacks which were mounted against them. Bob and the other Marines expected death when they were cut off from reinforcements, yet they fought and held on. When reinforcements did arrive, it was the Japanese who were then cut off and starving.

Bob had developed his own toughness which is very well described in this book. He had learned to adapt to new and different situations and he had this sense of another "presence" being with him and looking over him. He seemed to never fear death or the unknown.

After the Marine Corps, he was extremely restless and never did settle into a routine with any normality. He bonded to few people and he lived a life on the edge. Success was infrequent and fleeting. His relationships with women were limited and mostly physical. He worked with men yet was never emotionally close. He saw his work with the CIA as an extension of his Marine experience where he continued to work for his country and it was not until he became physically infirm that this became a problem for him.

I first met him when he was having more physical problems and life was becoming narrowed in the things he was able to do. He did talk and gradually opened up, with the themes of the sessions being the Marine Corps experience and his mysticism. He had beliefs which were most novel and unusual. I did not share his beliefs in aliens, reincarnation, night visitors, etc. I did enjoy hearing his experiences and his theories. We talked much about his PTSD and how this had related to his heart problems and spells of periodic unconsciousness. He made little of the CIA experience and he told Marc more than I had heard. I had the realization that he had bonded with me in a way he had never bonded before, and in the four and one-half years after I left his station until the time of his death he would call me at least once a month to tell me of a new discovery or idea. It was also during this time that his wife called being very disturbed about his incarceration as an arson suspect and asked if I could intervene. My wife and I drove the 5 hours to the jail and talked with the release officer whose main concern was whether Bob had a history of arson. When I told him I was unaware of any such history, the officer immediately released him to me and thus my wife entered the picture as we drove him to his home and visited more with him and his wife. He subsequently would also call her to visit and ask questions. She and I paid one last visit to him in his home a few days before his death and it was a great closing to our relationship.

I hold these men in the highest regard. They are mentally tough and have earned anything we may do for them. They have emotional scars from their service and they bear these in Marine style with no whining and asking little of us in return for the great service they rendered our country. I have been greatly honored to have had the privilege of working with them and their families.

 

Clarence E. Carnahan
Bend, Oregon

January 13, 2002

 

   
 

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